The Clarke Historical Library collects, preserves, and promotes nationally recognized collections, that include:
- The history of Michigan and the Old Northwest Territory.
- The history of Central Michigan University.
- Selected topics, including exemplary children's literature, campaign biographies of United States presidential candidates the history of angling, and historic Michigan newspapers.
As part of CMU's goal of advancing excellence, the library serves the needs of the CMU community and in particular student success, fosters scholarly activity through its collections, exhibits, and publications, and strengthens community partnerships through an active outreach program.